Celebrity judges picked the sauce from Phil’s barbecue restaurant in Eufaula as the state “BBQ Sauce-Off Champion” during a tasting Saturday at Pepper Place Market in Birmingham. The regional competitions leading up to the championship generated more than 50 newspaper articles and was covered by television stations across the state.
“The Alabama Tourism Department designed the BBQ Sauce-Off as a way of promoting the state’s barbecue restaurants and independent sauce producers,” said contest coordinator Brian Jones. “The regional contests got great coverage and our championship in Birmingham was covered by channel 48 in Huntsville, channel 6 in Birmingham, channel 12 in Montgomery and AL.com. It was also featured in USA TODAY, on public radio and was picked up by the Associated Press,” he said.
LawLers from Athens was chosen as the North Alabama regional winner by judges Bobby Shuttleworth of WAFF-48, Evan Carden of Decatur Life magazine and Melinda Dunn of the Decatur/Morgan Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Decatur/Morgan County Farmer’s Market was the host site for the regional contest.
The Central Alabama regional winner was Costas from Birmingham. The regional competition was held at the Tuscaloosa River Market and judged by Terri Brewer of WBRC-6, Rob Moore of WMFT-88.9 FM, Buttermilk Lipstick editor Rebecca Gordon and John Poole of Hudson-Poole Jewelers.
Phil’s BBQ from Eufaula was chosen as the Southern Alabama regional winner by judges Melissa McKinney of WSFA-12, Heather VacLav of WAKA-8, Allison Griffin of the Montgomery Advertiser, Hunter Lewis of Southern Living and Chris Blankenship of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission. The competition was held at the Southern Makers festival in Montgomery.
Three judges chose Viper sauce from Fairhope as the Gulf Coast regional winner during Market on the Square in Mobile. The judges were David Holloway of the Press-Register, Christian Jennings of WPMI-15 and Harriet Shade of SPIRE advertising agency.
Judges of the championship held at Birmingham’s Pepper Place Saturday Market included Vanessa Rocchio of Southern Living magazine, Clare Huddleston of WBRC-Fox 6 and Cindy Martin, president of the Alabama Media Group.
The BBQ Sauce-Off was a follow up to the popular BBQ Bracket contest on Facebook that state tourism did in March. “We had more than 81,000 votes cast on our Alabama Food Facebook page during the bracket. In the BBQ Sauce-Off we used panels of celebrity judges in blind taste testing competitions,” Jones said.
Thirty-four sauces were gathered from restaurants and grocery stores across the state for the BBQ Sauce-Off. Sauces in the contest included: Bailey’s, Baumhower’s, Berdeaux’s, BBQ Shack, Big Bob Gibson, Bishop’s, Bob Sykes, Bryant, Carlile’s, Costas, Crusty Butts & Bones, Dale’s BBQ, Demetri’s, Dreamland, Fat Boy’s, Full Moon, Golden Rule, Jim ‘N Nick’s, Johnny’s BBQ, LawLers, Mike & Ed’s, Mike Elliott’s, Moon Hollow, Noodie’s, Ollie’s, Perfect Bite BBQ, Phil’s, Rob’s, Saban Sauce, Saw’s, Saucy Q, Slaphappy BBQ, Thomas Rib Shack and Viper.
Learn more about Alabama food products, chefs, culinary destinations and events at Facebook.com/AlabamaFood and at www.yearofalabamafood.com.